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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
2 September 2008

US pledges additional $8.86 million towards the General Fund

The U.S. government pledge to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has reached $156.87 million for 2008.

The additional pledge comes in response to an extraordinary session of the Advisory Commission called by UNRWA in April 2008. At this meeting, UNRWA’s Commissioner-General Karen AbuZayd noted that global economic volatility and fluctuations in currency values were sharpening the Agency’s financial vulnerability. Further, the Commissioner-General asked that the international community provide more generous levels of funding in order to meet this immediate need.

The Commissioner-General thanked the U.S. government for its contributions, saying: “We are immensely grateful to the United States government for this additional contribution towards the General Fund. This support is essential for improving the lives of Palestine refugees who face increasing hardship.”

The additional pledge of 8.86 million increases the United States overall contribution towards the General Fund to more than $95 million. Through the General Fund, UNRWA educates approximately 490,000 children in more than 650 schools, hosts nine million patient visits in 127 health clinics and one hospital, and provides special hardship assistance to 250,000 of the most vulnerable refugees. In addition, the Untied States supports an education programme that promotes human rights, conflict resolution and tolerance in every UNRWA school.

The United States is UNRWA’s largest bilateral donor. In 2007, the U.S. Government contributed $154.15 million to UNRWA, including $90.65 million for UNRWA’s General Fund and $63.5 million for its emergency appeals for Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza. In 2008, the United States has made its largest ever overall contribution to UNRWA.

Chris Gunness at 0542 402 659, or +0972 542 402 659
Sami Mshahsa at 0542168295

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